Saturday, 29 November 2014

Cooking And Sharing

This week I thought I would cook something totally different and decided to make pies. Cornish Pasties to be exact - they are Chad's favourite pies. I used Google, as we all do, to search for recipes and I found the history of Cornish Pasties. Did you know the Cornish Pasty evolved for Cornish Tin Miners, who unable to return to the surface at lunchtime had a hearty, easy to hold and eat, lunch dish. Their hands were often dirty and could not be washed, so the pasty could be held by the thick pastry crust, so as not to dirty the contents. An interesting history lesson for a Friday Afternoon. Saturday morning. I found all this information over here on I didn't use their recipe, I found a different one, but it also had Swedes in it. I don't know what Swedes are, but apparently they are often confused with Turnips. Now I know why I don't like Cornish Pasties. There are two things that I will not eat ever and that is Peanut Butter and Turnips.

I made my Cornish Pasty with just meat; onion and potato. I made the dough according to the recipe, but realised that something had gone wrong when the recipe said cut dough using a dinner plate and cut out 6 discs. I barely managed eight very small side plate size discs. I made these eight small pies that came out the oven after an hour, that looked golden and delicious (I forgot to take a photo). The pastry was as hard as a rock and Chad made me laugh so much I was crying and almost wet myself over and over laughing, the way he made fun of my pies. My harshest critic. He said they tasted nice, but I should serve them with a hammer. They needed carrots and peas in them (South African Cornish Pasty, don't fit in with the real Cornish Protocols of Pasty making), but I could send the recipe to the British Army, because they could use it to jack up their army tanks when they need to do repairs on them. They also had no gravy inside them, I made gravy to pour over them, because I knew they would be dry. I kept reminding him that they were the real Traditional Cornish Pasty and miners could not have gravy pouring down their dirty hands. He said they could be used as weapons of mass destruction too. One hit to the head and that would be the end of the enemy. Next time I buy him a Cornish Pasty, I mustn't forget to ask for the tub of gravy on the side. Far too many more to remember, but just lots of side splitting laughter.

It was all in good fun and we decided I will stick to my normal easy boring foods for awhile - like pasta and stir fry. I realised that I did not roll out the dough thin enough. I thought it was thin. I did make the Rotis again on Monday night - the hottest day of the week. I had to try them again and they were really amazing, if I have to say so myself and my harshest critic said so too. I have to confess and apologise to all the Hindu Amma's, they are not that easy to make when you make the dough with the correct quantities of water and flour. They are far more difficult to roll out and get into circles and then cook. I burnt my knuckles several times on the edge of the pan, whilst flattening with the back of a spoon. OK I am not the most patient and nimble person in the kitchen, so you might not burn your fingers. They were so worth the back breaking rolling out and burnt knuckles. Flour mixed with liquid is the most fascinating thing. Well in my crazy analytically minded brain it is. Take pies, rotis and unleavened bread, all made with basically the same ingredients, but totally different taste and texture.

Both nights we finished off our meal with Caramel & Vanilla Ice Cream. Have you ever been so impatient for the ice cream to soften to make it easier to serve. We put ours in the microwave for 20 seconds and it is just long enough not to spoil the whole tub, but enough to soften it to get a spoon in.

Do you have an easy pie recipe you would care to share. I once made a chicken pie as well, that was also dry and the pastry tough. I am definitely doing something wrong, so if you are a pie maker and have any ideas, please let me know.

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Just How Clever Are Dogs

Dogs are really clever, in fact, all animals are clever, but it still amazes me just how clever they are and I often wish I could get inside their heads. Jingles absolutely loves Sheila and is always with her, yet at night time, she knows that she must come to us. Sometimes she stays with Sheila until about 8pm and then comes to us. When Sheila was very ill last year and was off work, Jingles would sit by the gate every morning shivering and crying waiting for her. It is understandable that she would miss someone that is with her almost every day.

Sheila comes to work on a Monday, stays in our flatlet for the week and goes home on a Friday at around 4pm. Taxi fare was getting too expensive for her, we had an empty flatlet and she has been staying here for two or three years. That is her routine and Jingles knows it. Sometimes she has to go home during the week or she goes and visits her Aunt who lives about four blocks away or goes to the shops. When she leaves the house on any day other than a Friday, Jingles cries and cries and runs up and down to the gate and back or sits at the gate shivering. She makes this squeaky irritating noise that sounds like a mouse on steroids. Yesterday, I was at home, Chad was at a friend and Sheila went to the shops. Jingles ran up and down to the gate squealing and shivering until Sheila came back. Chad came home before Sheila and Jingles carried on with her squealing even after Chad came home. On a Friday, like today, Sheila will leave and Jingles does not run around looking for her, she does not squeal, she does not shiver. How does Jingles know the difference between Sheila leaving routinely on a Friday and leaving on a day that she is not supposed to (in her mind)?

Since I have been working from home, she has spent a lot of time with me and the other dogs, but on a 50/50 basis. I also have special ring tones for Mark, Chad and Sheila as well as recordings of their names for text messages. When Sheila arrives on a Monday morning, we don't have a bell at our gate - we do but it is broken, so Sheila sends me a please call me. Both Jingles and Miss Piggy jump up and run to the gate - they know when my phone says "Sheila" that she is at the gate. How do they know that? Mark and Chad have both sent me messages to test the dogs with me saying their names, it is my voice and they don't budge. Animals are far more clever than we think they are and I certainly did not train them to run to the door when my they hear my "Sheila" message tone.

As you can see by the above photo taken last week on Monday, Jingles and Spike are friends again after the ear ordeal. That photo was taken on the day that she had her stitches removed. That is how they always sit by me if Mark is not at home. If Mark is at home then Spike sits by him. Miss Piggy never sits by me. In hindsight, I think I blamed Spike unfairly. I actually don't even think he fought with Jingles over food - I think he grabbed her ear thinking it was biltong, which still had dire consequences. Mark is still to blame for feeding them the way he does.


Spike is our only dog that does not have food aggression and if he did, he would not allow Garfield to be so close to him whilst he ate. The photo is a bit blurred, because as I grabbed my phone to take a photo, he started to wag his tail. The photo was just to show that he is not a dangerous dog at all, contrary to what some people believe about Bull Terriers and what I also believed before we got Spike.

Someone asked me if I am sorry that we have a Bull Terrier after the ear ordeal. He is really the sweetest of all our dogs and that was an unfortunate accident.

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Friday, 28 November 2014

Get Into The Rubybox Kissmas Spirit

Rubybox would like all women in South Africa to feel as special as they are, so they have launched their Kissmass Campaign. Create a customised kiss by selecting a kiss card, a smooch and a personal note and email it off to a friend. As soon as their kiss has been delivered right into their inbox, both you and your friend will receive a 50% voucher off your first Rubybox. December is a bumper box so you will be receiving approximately R350.00 worth of beauty for R84.50 as soon as you claim your Kissmas. If you have always wanted a Rubybox subscription now is the time to signup. Valid until the 25 December 2014 ONLY.

And...... You don't even have to choose between your friends and family and fight over who is more important to you, because the more Kisses you share the more chance you will have in winning a year's supply of lipstick worth R1200.00. Yes that's right, not only do you get a 50% discount, but so do all your family and friends who you send Kisses to and you could win R1200.00 worth of lipstick for sending the most Kisses. Click here to send your Kisses - regret residents of South Africa ONLY.

If you would like to signup for a Beautique Box subscription use the following code BBOXR50.00 valid for your first Beautique Box, one code per subscriber only, expires 31 January 2015.
Buildabox R50.00 off first build-a-box, one per subscriber only, Code BABOX50 expires 31 January 2015.
GIFTED SUBSCRIPTIONS (3/6/12 month rubybox) R50.00 off all gifted subs; one per subscriber code GIFT50 expires 31 Jan2015. Sign up over here

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This post has not been sponsored, however, by Clicking on any link in the post and on any banner on my site and making a purchase, I will earn commission from that sale. Thank you for reading Chad Life Us

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The End Is Nigh

Today I am not even allowing myself to think much or purge my thoughts here, other than to say that five Thursdays from now we will be in 2015 - how scary is that. Are you even ready for a new year, I certainly am not.

Have you heard of Novembertitis? Read all about it over here. I have suffered from it my whole adult life, only mine starts from October - now I have a name for it. I would guess that it is similar to SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder, however, not as severe. The other difference would be that almost everyone suffers from Novembertitis. This constant rain doesn't help either. Everyone is in a rush to get things done and the rain hampers most workloads. We had an amazing storm last night - not the heavy windstorm, but the rain. There were very strong winds, like almost blow the roof off winds, then as the wind died down, the rain just pelted down. No thunder, no lightning - it rained from about 11pm and falling asleep listening to the rain was heavenly. I thought it would be sunny and hot today, but it isn't. The clouds are heavy with unshed drops of rain, like tears behind our eyes.

Here are some inspirational quotes to get you through to the weekend, I know I definitely need them. Have an awesome Thursday and go read all about Novembertitis at least you won't feel all crazy and alone if you do have it.

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And last but not least, I have another Rubybox discount voucher coming up soon, so look out for that post.

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16 Days Of Activism For No Violence Against Women And Children

Yesterday was the start of 16 Days Of Activism. Ideally it should be 365 days, but these 16 days are the official days to raise awareness. Imagine if no child was raped or abused for 16 days, it would seem an insignificant number to us, but for the child if would seem like a life time. Now imagine that being a lifetime for the child, because someone felt so uncomfortable hearing about the 16 Days Of Activism that he/she stopped abusing that child for good or it made someone step out of that denial and report the abuse.

Image Source - The Presidency Website

Yesterday there was a huge roadblock just down the road from us, in a quiet suburban road. The reason for the roadblock was in conjunction with the launch of 16 Days of Activism. The police were just there to greet the motorists and handout pamphlets. I never went through the roadblock, but Chad and Mark did. It is also a chance for open dialogue with our children to discuss child abuse and gender violence - without these 16 days the uncomfortable topic might never be brought up.

Image Source - Gender Links For Equality & Justice

The days also cover other significant dates like International Women's Rights Defenders Day on the 29 November 2014 and Worlds Aids Day on the 1 December 2014. The 25th of November is also the start of all the office parties and end year functions - how many abuse cases are the result of alcohol abuse. So that in it's self, in my opinion is the right time to launch the 16 days.

No, your white ribbon won't eradicate child abuse or gender violence and talking about it won't make a difference to the child being raped and abused, but in ignoring it and pushing it under the proverbial carpet will just make it worse.

For more on the South African 16 Days Of Activism visit the Presidency Website or Media Club South Africa. Get a logo for your blog from here as well as get more information. Download a poster for your office noticeboard over here or follow the Official 16 Days of Activism Twitter Account @16DaysCampaign - the official hashtag is #16days or Like them on Facebook - The Official 16 Days Of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Let's have a Gender Violence and Child Rape and Abuse Free Society

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All opinions in this post are my own. This post was written freely - I am not affiliated to any organisation in the links in this post. All links are for information and reference purposes only. The organisations linked to this post are not affiliated to Chad Life Us or Myself - Dianne the author

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Retail Therapy Depression And Despair

I hate shopping and here are some of the reasons why. I could never understand the concept of Retail Therapy. How could trawling the malls make you feel better and lift your spirits when you are down in the dumps. The over crowded incorrectly air-conditioned stores, people bustling up and down, the constant drone of people talking non stop - that would just make me even more down in the dumps. Retail Therapy is not for me.

Oh my goodness, what a rude awakening I had the other day - I am SO guilty of Retail Therapy and then come home depressed and in despair at the money I have literally thrown away. I have been doing it for years without realising it. The other day when I went shopping for Chad, there were two or three Vests that he did not like, so I returned them. Then a couple of days later Sheila brought me a pair of track pants that were in Chad's room and asked if they were Chads, I said yes and she showed me they were a XX Large. Luckily the tags were still on them and we found the slip and the next day I went to change them.

I was feeling really down and had a lot on my mind and after I changed the pants for the right size I wandered into Mr Price Home, which is part of Mr Price Sport. I was just browsing around and stumbled on steered myself towards the Vanilla Home Fragrance Range - I needed more Hand Wash, I still had some of the Hand Cream left. It is actually Body Lotion but I use it as Hand Cream. I discovered it recently and it is amazing. All the Home Fragrance Range was beautifully laid out and I picked up, looked at, read everything in the range. They were all only between R30.00 and R40.00. Below is what I came home with.

I did not need any of the stuff, I did not want any of the stuff and I did not even go to the shops to buy any of the stuff. I was in a bad space and thought I would lift my spirits by browsing and shopping. That is when I realised I have been doing this for my whole life - except I don't buy shoes or clothes or handbags. I buy stuff I really don't need. I guess the therapy in it, is feeling all down and depressed about the money spent instead of feeling stressed and down about the initial issue. On the plus side, everything now smells like Vanilla and Honey and how good is that for uplifting my spirits.

I then wandered off to Clicks, because Chad needed face wash and I ended up buying myself new nail colours to add to my now small collection after clearing out all the old ones. I have never heard of Mavala Nail Products before, but I have wanted white for so long now after seeing Mel B from the X Faxtor wearing it. That was the only "pure" white that I could find. It is a tiny bottle and won't last very long.

I am quite Retail Therapy'ed  out now and am avoiding the shops so still haven't gone hunting for a new foundation yet, in case I come home with another pile of stuff I don't really need.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Effects Of A YouTube Video On Chad

The internet can be a dark and scary place at times and children can be exposed to all sorts of horrors, if not properly monitored. There is this really horrific video doing the rounds at the moment about the nanny in Uganda beating the little baby she is supposed to be looking after. The initial video on Parent 24 warns that not just anyone should watch it as it is graphic and shockingly abusive. If you are in anyway sensitive do not watch it.

Well the video has done its rounds and it is on every single Social Media Platform and was on Chad's Facebook Feed. Now Chad is 17, he has first hand experience that life is not fair and just. He is not naive to the realities of life and has lived through the shock of death.

Yesterday, he showed me that video and he was really horrified that a nanny can do that to a baby - that anyone can do that to a baby. Here is the link to the video. Chad hides his feelings and emotions and won't come right out and say that something is bothering him, but I could tell that this video had affected him badly. Every now and again he would bring it up and say something about it. I hadn't read the article, I didn't even know about it, so last night I went onto News 24 and I found the article and link to Parent 24 and read the story. I told Chad that the baby was OK and it had happened a few months ago and the monster who did that to the baby is in jail. Relief just washed over his face when I told him and he went straight to Mark and told him that the baby was OK. Physically she is OK, but who knows what psychological effects it will have on her when she is older.

Image Source

Imagine if the father had not installed a nanny-cam or if he did not have the foresight to suspect something not being right. The poor little baby.

I hope the visuals have left Chad's mind, he didn't bring it up in the car this morning so I think his mind is at ease now that he knows the baby is OK and after our talk about it. I have personally never seen visuals of child abuse or any other visuals for that matter that have been so graphic and disturbing. If you haven't seen the video as yet, don't even watch it out of curiosity, it is really disturbing and wish that I had not watched it and certainly wish that Chad didn't. It is good that child abuse is exposed and it is good that it is making people more aware, but it certainly is very disturbing.

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Foundation - The Story Of My Life

I should say the bane of my life. No, I don't mean the foundation my life is built on - I mean the stuff I cover my face in. It suddenly dawned on me the other day, why I stopped using Revlon Age Defying Foundation after so many years of loving the stuff. I changed over to Essence Foundation, because it was really reasonable at under R50.00 a tube. Revlon was between R250.00 and R299.00 a massive difference. I then became annoyed with the ever increasing cost of Essence Products each time I went to buy something. I then bought Rimmel, because someone on Instagram gave it high praise and I thought why not try something new.

I quite liked the Rimmel and I was very pleased when I noticed it lasted more than two months. Usually my Foundation only lasts a month. Admittedly most of it goes down the pug hole, because I dispense too much and waste - my hands normally have more Foundation than my face. It always amazes me how women drive and put makeup on. Besides the fact that my blood boils, because putting on makeup whilst driving is FAR worse than even talking on your phone or drinking and driving. Permanently looking in the mirror and not on the road!!! Let me not digress, but imagine all the foundation on their steering wheels and all over everywhere.

The reason why I used wasted less is because Rimmel is quite thick and the pump dispenser clogs up and you battle to get anything out. I don't know if I just happened to get a reject, but mine is quite thick. Then to my utter frustration the pipe thingy for the pump dispenser detached from the top and that is when the penny dropped and I remembered that I had enough of battling with Revlon bottles - I was changing over to Foundation in a tube.

For love or money I cannot get the last quarter of the Foundation out the bottle. It took a week for me to get the tube out after shaking and almost smashing the bottle and leaving it upside down permanently. I attached the tube and it lasted 5 minutes and detached itself again. In the process of shaking and cursing I managed to get foundation out for a week. Today no more. It will not budge from the bottom and there is still a fair amount in the bottle - really there is.

It is not just the edges speared with makeup, there is a good few days worth of makeup now getting binned. It is such a waste and it is one thing me wasting, because I dispense too much, but quite another if I am forced to throw something out. I am now on a mission to find a new brand of Foundation that does not come with a pump action top and is not too thick to dispense.

Today I just wore Garnier BB Cream, I was going to go makeup shopping, but had to finish my tax recon, which I managed to finish before two (benefits of working uninterrupted from home)  - hence the random blog post earlier, but by then I wasn't in the mood for shopping.

Any recommendations of a good, but inexpensive Foundation that does not come in a pump dispenser bottle will be appreciated.

Am I just being miserly - should I just throw it away and not see it as a waste.

For more Makeup Monday posts, Click Here

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Let's Share Recipes And Cook

I have had a heavy week, heavy with sadness and grief and memories and my blog posts are testament to the fact. Fortunately, I have Chad to keep me from sinking into a pit of darkness and despair so I am going to end the week off on a lighter note and what better way to do it with, than with food.

Chad is my harshest critic when it comes to food, Mark usually keeps his opinions to himself if the food is bad, otherwise he knows he won't get food for awhile - I take it very personally and the cooking doors close and I go on strike and of course that includes him being too full to eat. That just confirms in the worst way possible that my food sucks and rather than come out and say so, he says he is full to try and fool me. Chad has only recently evolved from eating pasta and by pasta, I mean the actual pasta and not the bolognese or whatever goes with it. The only vegetable he loves is butternut from Woolworths. I mentioned before about Chad's theory that Woolworths manufacture their fruit and vegetables in a special laboratory. I seriously don't sit down to eat and say I bought this butternut at Woolworths or Spar or Fruit And Veg and Chad does not stand and look over my shoulder when I cook. I make the butternut exactly the same way every time. Steam it in the steamer until soft, put half a tablespoon Flora margarine and a dash of pepper. The response is this yellow stuff is the shit (Woolworths) or this yellow stuff is shit (Anywhere else). I do call him out on his language, but it is modern day teenage slang. 'Is the shit' means it is so good and 'is shit' means it is disgusting. Who would have thought preposition rules could change the meaning of slang and swearwords. I have recently discovered that "The Shizz" {not sure about spelling} tops it all.

Chad and I both love potato {potato is not a vegetable} it can be baked with or without the skin; boiled. steamed; roasted; chipped, mashed - we love it. Mark does not like potato, not even chips (not only mine). He eats my potato salad, which just has mayo and egg. We do eat far too much potato, because it is pretty easy and not much thought needs to go into cooking it. I was even getting sick of potato and one day I saw a recipe for potatoes on a blog I read {link coming]. I made them and they were a hit. I only gave Mark a small amount - because of "I don't eat potatoes". I made them again a couple of weeks later and again they were a hit. I don't have much imagination when cooking and I tend to find something really nice and then cook it until we are so sick of it. In between we had chips and mash, then a couple of times roast potatoes in the oven with the roast - I had complaints that the potatoes we bought were not good - take note not my cooking. I went back to the other potatoes and raving compliments again. No complaints from Mr "I don't eat potatoes " Only compliments. This week we had them twice - no complaints. Chad came from the kitchen and said "Mom those potatoes .......... why did you cook.........." I waited for the barrage of complaints spewed from a moody teenage boy. Yes teenage boys also get hormonal and moody - sometimes I have to, not so gently, remind Chad that he is being worse than a 13 year old premenstrual girl and there can only be one premenstrual hormonal menopausal person in this house. I just rolled my eyes and then saw the grin on his face "......Why do you cook so little of them - they are the SHIZZ"

Click Here For Recipe

You just have to try out Sula's crispy fried potatoes. I use Ina Paarman potato spice and dried Rosemary and lots of it. They are the best and if I did a recipe of the year thing, this would be my recipe of the year. This week my food was "On Point" according to my resident food critic. Monday night was pasta and mince; Tuesday was potatoes and T Bone Steak and Salad and Wednesday was Curry and Roti. Last night I lost points with Beef Stroganoff.

I cannot detest frying meat and avoid it at all costs, but we getting to the dregs of the freezer and there was not much choice - boerewors; lamb chops; stewing beef; T-Bones and Beef Strips. I Googled recipes for cooking T-Bone Steak in the oven and found this tutorial on You Tube

I have never tasted, let alone cooked a T-Bone or any steak as succulent and juicy as what I did following this tutorial. Two things I did differently, was cook it in the oven for ten minutes not eight, because I cannot eat raw meat - pink = raw. The two minutes extra made that slight difference from pink to brown. I also did not slice it and garnish with watercress. My potatoes were almost done and I did not want them to spoil whilst I was attempting to fancy cut the meat for the first time. I learned how to make succulent T-Bones for the first time in my life!!! I don't think Mark believes that I cooked the meat. I also used garlic butter in the pan, because we had garlic butter. If you are like me and cannot cook T-Bones, give this a try - you won't be sorry. I don't like T-Bones and neither does Chad - but they were "On Point" as Chad says and food was the SHIZZ.

Get Recipe Here

I don't dislike cooking as such, I dislike thinking about what to cook and then wondering if we have the ingredients or getting this grand idea in your head and then realise you are short of just one little but significant item. No I haven't found that app yet, that was going to make my life easier. I think I have found something better than an app, but I am still procrastinating on that. Well, Wednesday's limited choice of meat was stewing meat. I love stew, Chad not so much and Mark also quite likes it, but I did not feel like stew. We have had these crazy rain storms, which caused a chill in the air and I was thinking curry and cold days. Why not make curry, which I duly made in the slow cooker. The smell of curry all day, made me think of the Rotis and curry I was craving the other week, which Mark went and bought from our go to Indian food place and the food seriously was not good.  Then I remembered the Rotis on Sammy from the Annoyed Thyroid Blog and Sammy saying they were easy to make. I had a look at the recipe and it had four ingredients, so that counted for something in the easy department. I halved the recipe, because I only had about 300g of flour and I wasn't going to the shops it was almost 5.30 pm. So I halve the flour, forget to halve the water and only realise after adding the water to the flour that I have double the amount of water. I was going to dump it all in the trash, but instead scooped out about 120g of water, with a bit of flour and then added a teaspoon or two more of flour and thought what the heck and mixed it all in my Kenwood. They came out pretty tasty - a bit hard and crunchy like unleavened bread, but very tasty and so good with the curry. I made rice, in case the Roti did not turn out edible, so we had both. The curry I made was just my normal curry with Raja mild and spicy curry powder - no special curry powders.

I have been working from home for the past week - that is why I could blog everyday. No spending my day looking for pens and invoices for Mark and not having to deal with stupidity. I could put some effort into cooking and {blogging}. Maybe this can be a permanent thing, if Mark wants good food then I need to go back to working from home, because he knows I don't do customer relations very well - in fact I don't do it at all.

So thanks to Sula; Sammy and Mina Neuman eHow Chef for giving me the inspiration to cook food this week that was The Shizz!!!

Do you have any easy recipes to share - put a link in the comments section and share the food love.....

Have an awesome Friday and an even better weekend

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Colour Of Life

 When I started these Thursday Thoughts' posts, the idea was to get me out of my Thursday slump and get motivated and inspired to finish off the week. They were never meant to be heavy thought provoking posts, but looking back, that is what they are - heavy deep thoughts. Oh well that is me, my mind never switches off. Not even at night when I am sleeping, do I have a dreamless deep sleep. That's why I love sleeping during the day - those are the times that my mind shuts off for an hour or two. Not all of my thoughts end up on my blog though, in fact, not even a quarter of an eighth, lands up here.

I try as best not to post anything remotely political on my blog, in case what I say gets misconstrued and I wake up one morning and I am trending for the wrong reason - I don't want to ever trend for any reason, I don't think Chad would ever forgive me if I post something on Social Media that puts the spotlight on him or us as a family, but sometimes, my thoughts become overwhelming and spill out onto my blog.

Today, I am going to tread those political waters, just because this has been bugging me for over a week now. I have also, over the online years, learnt not to read the comments section of news sites or Facebook groups. If you want to slide down the slippery path of  hate and negativity, go spend everyday on the comments section of the well known news sites. However, the other day a comment caught my eye, it wasn't a comment from the article I was reading, it was a "latest comment posted on..." comment.

I went to read the article, thinking the comment was actually the article - turns out it wasn't. The article was about Cross Cultural Adoption and the comment that caught my eye was from a person attacking every "white" person for adopting cross culturally, because the Government does not give assistance by means of The National Lottery or any other financial assistance to any orphanage that has white children - even one white child. The person commenting did not validate his facts with any substantial evidence other than saying have you ever seen a white child in an orphanage and even if the orphanage has one white child they will lose their funding. None of the other comments argued for or against the actual point, everyone just attacked each other, as comments do on these sites.

I don't know whether this is in fact true, but if it is then it is just so wrong on so many levels. It does make me wonder where all the "white" orphans are. Post 1994, did not make perfect parents out of "white" people. I am all about correcting the injustices of the past and there were many injustices in the past and very few people in the country benefited from apartheid. However, any child in an orphanage today was born post apartheid and should not be punished for what happened in the past.

In this day and age, children should not be labeled and classified by colour anyway. They should be children first and foremost. Yes we do need to acknowledge and accept that there are differences and we are either White, Black; Asian etc and we should be proud of who we are. All living creatures are classified within their species. We have dogs, but we have Bull Dogs; Dachshund; Mixed Breeds and hundreds of others and the same with the human race, be proud of who you are first, then be proud to be human, but don't lump everyone in a derogatory box and say "All pink people are bad" "All blue children cannot benefit from Government funding" {I use pink and blue as to not appear to inappropriately label people}

It reminds me of a woman we once knew, at the age of 26, she had a ten year old daughter, she fell pregnant at school, the father was not interested at all. She then married and divorced a man who treated her very badly and had a son with him - he was about four. She then met a fairly wealthy Indian man at work and married him and had a little girl. She spent her days shopping and drinking coffee with friends, at Salons, a well off stay at home mom, with full time help. One day she was talking to her friends and looking for assurance from these women, and said, but she looks Greek hey. Talking about her little girl. Your child's father is Indian, why on earth would you want her to look Greek - where does Greek fit into the whole scheme of things. Of the man you married clearly for money and the good life. The strangest for me was that she never said the blonde and blue eyed children from the two dead beat Afrikaans men who fathered them, looked Swiss. They should have been her children first and foremost and not labelled by colour.

The same with children in orphanages - they are orphans, is that not "labelled" enough. I certainly hope it is not true. In fact it would be very disheartening to know that we have come so far, but have not moved one step forward. Yes, we must be proud of who we are and we are who we are, but labels must be instance appropriate. Just like all dogs/cats/horses are different in their uniqueness, including mixed breeds so should the human race embrace their own uniqueness as a part of the human race, whether you are White; Black or Mixed Race or whatever race or culture. BUT... that is where it must stop and the human race must be embraced first.

It makes me wonder where children of "mixed race" would fit into the whole scheme of things, of siblings where one may look like the mother and the other like the father - have we regressed to a time many years ago when families were split according to colour. Is it not bad enough that children are taken from their homes and labelled orphans or children of the state.

And on that thought - have a great Thursday...........

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The Forgotten Child - Dealing With Death Part Two

I should call these posts, not dealing with death, because in all honesty that is the truth of the matter. Since typing up my previous post, I have been thinking about the day that Clint died, but more so about Chad and the day Clint died. Clint died two months before Chad turned ten. He was little and I keep trying to imagine what it was like for him, what emotions he felt - it is something I cannot even begin to imagine.

For one thing, the staff at that disgusting institution that calls its self a hospital, told us that Chad could not stay at the hospital and Mark arranged for him to stay at a friend. At that point in time, we did not believe that Clint would not make it through the night. For the sake of not causing the slightest issue for fear that they would take it out on Clint, after they finally started to give him the medical treatment he urgently required, we willingly obliged. In hindsight, we should have made Chad stay with us. He left the hospital with the knowledge that his brother was "fine". His brother was talking and saying funny things, Chad was unaware that the funny things Clint was saying were beyond his control. The plan was that Chad slept at the friend and the next day he would not go to school, because we knew Clint was seriously injured and my mother would look after him, whilst Mark organised work and I stayed at the hospital and my mother would bring Chad to see Clint. Well that was not to be. Instead Chad came home to be told that his brother was dead. Chad was angry when Mark fetched him from the friend. His anger a result of fear and worry, not knowing what was happening and being shunned and ignored.

Chad - Photo Take With My Very Old Basic Samsung Phone Around Feb 2007

It took about an hour after we told him that Clint had died for him to react. He screamed and kicked and thrashed, we could not console him or hold him or comfort him. Broken parents trying to comfort a little boy, parents who could not understand or make sense of the past 12 hours trying to make a little boy understand. We phoned our general practioner, who said he would see us straight away and gave us all anxiety medicine and prescribed Atarax, in liquid form for Chad. Besides being an antihistamine, it is also used to treat anxiety and tension. Our doctor also arranged for us to see a therapist the next day. We never went to get the medication, but the father of Clint's friend who was at the crash site, arrived at our house as soon as we arrived back from the doctor and he went to get the medication for us. He was at crash site, because he was dropping his son off at extra maths and they drove past the crash scene and when they got to maths, just around the corner, they saw Clint not at maths and his friend asked the dad to stop and check in case it was Clint. Their worst fears came true.

People started coming around to our house and it did not stop the whole day. We hadn't slept, I was given a very strong dose of Ativan at the hospital and took the Xanor the doctor had prescribed and I was in this Zombie state with people coming in and out. Chad was helping my mother and one of the ladies who used to be the school office administrator to make coffee and tea and showing them were everything was in the kitchen. He did not grow up over night, he grew from the baby in the family to this helpful mature grown up little boy in a matter of minutes

No one went up to Chad to give him a hug or said sorry about your brother. It took me a few weeks before the reality of that hit me. He was just this invisible little boy trying to be brave amidst the tears and grief. I don't even think I saw him or spoke to him - he was just there. Clint's friend "M" came later than everyone else and he was the first person to acknowledge that Chad's brother had died and he told Chad how sorry he was. I think he clung to Chad for comfort. The only other person who acknowledged that Chad was "there" and needed comfort was a family friend. Not knowing how to comfort or deal with emotions he bought Chad a whole lot of toys, which afterwards when I started coming out of my Zombie like state, I really appreciated it. A few of the girls spent time with Chad when they came around in the afternoons after school, but none of them acknowledged to him that they were sorry that his brother died. Chad was always, Clint's little brother, but no one realised that he actually wasn't a little boy or the baby, he was old enough to know what death was and he grew up even faster in those few hours than he ever would have, had Clint not died.

Chad was angry for the rest of the week and lashed out at me all the time. We had to either leave him at home with our domestic worker or let him go to friends, because we had to run around sorting stuff out. There is no rolling up into a ball and dying when your child dies. It is non stop running up and down with red tape and legalities and "accident" reports. There is no time to even think of grieving. We tried to shield him from a lot of the ugliness, but in reality there is no way you can shield your child when death is so close to home and so very real. He also could not understand why he was being left at home without his parents and without his brother.

A women, actually the mother of the friend that Chad stayed at asked me if Chad was going to be a Pall Bearer, I was horrified at the thought. Then in between the absolute chaos, I thought about it and I was naming who I wanted to be Pall Bearers and giving my reasons why they should be and the importance and significance of their relationship to Clint and it dawned on me that Chad must have thought that I believed he was not important in Clint's life or even in our lives. The night before the funeral, I said to him that he was the most important person in Clint's life and I wanted to ask him something but I was too scared to and I wanted to ask him long before, but I was not sure if I should. I then asked, because we had chosen all the Pall Bearers, if he wanted to walk in front on the coffin, because he was THE most important person and his reply was "Yes, mommy, I would really love to"  Those exact words, in all his almost 10 years of age. We asked our Friend, D, who was also a Pall Bearer to just help Chad and we told Chad he would.

I wasn't really aware of what was going on at the Funeral, but I was told that Chad was absolutely amazing and so helpful the whole day. After the funeral, when everyone moves on with their lives, Mark went back to work and Chad was the one that had to care for me and not the other way round. He would phone Mark to come home, when my grief became unbearable, he screened my phone calls and just hovered at the edge of my very unstable mental state.

I was supposed to be the one protecting him and I couldn't. This tiny boy grew up and took on responsibilities that he should never have had to. He was so proud of his tie and his smart clothes on the day of the Funeral, that the enormity of what is was all about just washed over him, but when he saw me struggling to cope, the reality of everything we were going through was very real.

We try and protect our children by "hiding" the real world, but sometimes, that is even more scary for them than telling them the truth

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

When Strangers Touch Our Lives

I wrote about The Cruelty That Is Life in July this year and among other very sad and cruel and unfair stories, I wrote about a blog that I read, called Soon To Be Survivor - Survivor Jill. A blog about a lady with breast cancer. Her posts are so positive and even full of humour, the title is an indication of her mindset. It was not an interactive blog per say and although I left a comment from time to time, I did not strike up an online relationship with her, but diligently read her cancer story.

The post that really got to me, was the post where she says her daughter knows she is going to die, her daughter is 9 or 10. The age that Chad was when Clint died. The age where they know what death is, but cannot comprehend or truly understand their feelings. As an adult I can't comprehend or understand or deal with my emotions so can't even imagine what it is like at 10 years of age. Her post touched me in ways that I could not describe, I was saddened and heartbroken.

A month later she posted this post about how she gave her jewelry to her nieces, bought a special bed,  cancelled appointments and planned the end of her life in a few weeks and then her health took an about turn for the better. There were a couple more posts and then nothing for a couple of months and on Friday her husband updated her blog and posted about how he and their daughter spoke about, no matter how science has advanced there is nothing more they can do for her mommy. You can read it over here. I only saw the post on Friday, but checked now and it was posted on the 10 November, last week Monday. All they could do was make her comfortable and she was comfortable lying in bed next to him.

Today I was not planning on posting anything, because I have lots of work, but had my blog open in my browser, because I had been reading the updated blogs on my blogroll. As I sat down to work and close my browser, Soon To Be Survivor Blog was right at the top of my blogroll. Survivor Jill lost her fight to cancer on the 12 November 2014. Her husband's post Celebrate Jilly, just broke me. As I gulp back tears for a stranger I have never met, it was a shock to read that she had died, because the blog was never about a sick and dying person. It was a story filled with humour and positivity and oh by the way I have breast cancer kind of story. I am battling to explain what I mean here, but I am saddened and shocked, even though death was inevitable after the last few posts.

Just this weekend I read her posts from 2008 when she was first diagnosed, I read the first year's posts, not knowing that she had already died. Her little girl was only two when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, her whole little life is centered around cancer, but what I can say is that she had an amazingly positive mother that she can be so proud of. A mother to be remembered as happy and positive, but it is still so dam cruel and unfair and life really sucks. Yes there are thousands of cancer stories and other equally sad and tragic stories, but this one has touched me and I can't explain the how or the why - it just has.

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Rest In Peace Survivor Jill

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